Since 1953, Colorado has partnered with and benefited from WICHE through regional collaboration, resource-sharing, sound public policy, and innovation.

WICHE Commissioners

*indicates Executive Committee member

Jim Chavez

Executive Director, Latin American Educational Foundation (LAEF)

* Antwan Jefferson

Clinical Associate Professor, University of Colorado Denver

Angie Paccione

Executive Director, Colorado Department of Higher Education


Provides strong return on investment

  • 3,601 Colorado residents saved $30.8 million in 2019-20 through the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE), Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP), and Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP). These WICHE programs provide significant student savings on nonresident tuition at 170+ Western U.S. public colleges and universities and select private health care programs.
  • In 2019-20 WICHE Student Access Programs provided Colorado an astounding 5,150 percent return on investment, relative to the state’s annual WICHE dues.
  • Colorado students and their families have saved $328 million since the state began participating in WUE.
  • The Master Property Program (MPP) helps institutions reduce their insurance premiums and improve their coverage. The MPP includes more than 170 campuses with total insured values of over $100 billion.

Helps Colorado attract students from other states

WICHE maps highlighting Colorado student migration
WICHE maps highlighting Colorado student migration
  • WUE and WRGP incentivized 4,986 students this year to invest their tuition dollars in Colorado.

Bolsters Colorado’s health workforce

  • WICHE’s Behavioral Health Program (BHP) provided technical assistance to Beacon Health to enhance their effectiveness in serving rural and frontier populations.
  • Through PSEP, students from Colorado can enroll in participating programs in another state while receiving substantial tuition support. Currently, Colorado supports students in optometry.
  • Funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Rural Health, Together with Veterans (TWV) is a partnership of the BHP, the VA Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC), and local organizations that are run by or serve veterans. In Colorado, there are currently two TWV sites: Northeast Colorado and San Luis Valley.
  • WICHE, partnering with the University of North Dakota, administers the Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC). The Mountain Plains MHTTC serves the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming by establishing a collaborative network that strengthens the capacity of different systems, organizations, and treatment practitioners involved in the delivery of mental health services.

Helps Colorado allocate resources efficiently with data and policy analysis

  • WICHE offers various data and policy resources to support better-informed decision-making. WICHE’s research projects and collaborations cover postsecondary completion, closing attainment gaps, adult learners, and multistate data-sharing to support educational planning and workforce development.
  • WICHE staff serve as expert resources and provide technical assistance on finance, financial aid, articulation and transfer, strategic planning, student demographics, and more.
  • WICHE’s website features Benchmarks, an interactive dashboard featuring the most recent data available on the West’s progress in improving access to, success in, and the financing of higher education, as well as other useful resources.
  • WICHE’s quadrennial Knocking at the College Door report is regarded as the foremost U.S. resource for projections of college-ready students. An abundance of information can be found on the Knocking website, including the publication and other reports, projections data, interactive data dashboards, recorded webinars and presentations, and Colorado’s state profile.

Fosters idea sharing

  • WICHE’s Legislative Advisory Committee provides valuable insights on trends and promising practices to Colorado’s legislative leaders as they build partnerships with leaders in other Western states.
  • Three Colorado institutions are members of the Western Academic Leadership Forum (the Forum), a consortium of academic officers at bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral institutions and chief executives and academic officers for systems and state governing boards. Colorado members include Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colorado State University, and Colorado State University – Pueblo. Vicki Golich, MSU Denver, serves on the Forum executive committee. Academic leaders at community colleges (cc) and technical schools and at systems and state governing and coordinating boards associated with two-year institutions are members of the Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders (the Alliance). Colorado members of the Alliance are Aims CC, Arapahoe CC, Colorado CC System, Colorado Northwestern CC, CC of Aurora, CC of Denver, Front Range CC, Lamar CC, Morgan CC, Northeastern Junior College, Otero Junior College, Pikes Peak CC, Pueblo CC, Red Rocks CC, and Trinidad State Junior College. Both the Forum and the Alliance exchange ideas and information, share resources and expertise, and collaborate on regional initiatives. Landon Pirius, Colorado CC System, serves on the Alliance executive committee.
  • Eighteen higher education institutions in Colorado are members of WCET (WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies), the leader in the practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. WCET’s growing membership includes almost 400 institutions, higher education agencies and systems, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and corporations in all US states and several Canadian provinces. Through its Frontiers blog, convenings, and active online discussions, WCET keeps members informed of the latest in policy change, regulations, and trends in educational technology. And WCET offers a host of resources related to educational technology and faculty support, including advice and guidance for institutions on how to transition their face-to-face offerings to emergency online alternatives and how to increase quality in these courses over time.
  • The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is a voluntary, state-led initiative designed to establish comparable standards for U.S. states and territories regulating postsecondary distance education. SARA expands access to postsecondary educational opportunities, while ensuring meaningful consumer protections for students and reducing regulatory red tape for institutions. WICHE is responsible for coordinating the membership of SARA states in the West through the WICHE State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (W-SARA). See nc-sara.org/directory for a list of member institutions.
  • The State Authorization Network (SAN) provides institutional support in managing regulations related to online courses and programs. Colorado’s members include: American Sentinel University, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, Community College of Denver, Regis University & OCICU, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, University of Colorado Denver, and University of Colorado System.
  • At the outset of the recent outbreak of COVID-19, WICHE quickly reacted, shifted to remote work, and continues to advance our mission. WICHE is facilitating peer-to-peer videoconferences for higher education leaders to connect and identify solutions to common challenges, to follow legislation passed in response to the crisis, and to identifying emergency funding for students and higher education institutions. The WICHE BHP is hosting webinars that offer guidance to support the mental well-being of their students, and WCET is providing updates and resources to help institutions address issues that arise due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Visit WICHE’s COVID-19 resources page for up-to-date information.